The past week has been like a second trade deadline in the NHL and many young players were included in the swaps. But who are these kids that are expected to bring about a better tomorrow?
The magnitude and volume of trades during draft weekend and the first few days of free agency has been impressive. Big names such as Phil Kessel, T.J. Oshie and Milan Lucic were all given new addresses and in all three cases, prospects were part of the return.
In fact, many teams acquired future NHL hopefuls recently, so let’s take a look at some of the more prominent kids involved in this summer’s trade crop.
Pheonix Copley, G, St. Louis (from Washington in the T.J. Oshie trade) – A big-framed netminder (6-foot-4, 196 pounds) who was a standout with Michigan Tech, Copley had a great rookie pro season in AHL Hershey, pushing starter Philipp Grubauer.
Magnus Hellberg, G, NY Rangers (from Nashville for a sixth-rounder in 2017) – Towering in net at 6-foot-5, Hellberg had a great rebound year in AHL Milwaukee after a sophomore slump in 2013-14. Anticipation and positioning are his strong suits.
Kasperi Kapanen, RW, Toronto (from Pittsburgh in the Phil Kessel trade) – Slippery, highly skilled and fast, Kapanen almost made the Pens this season but ended up back in Finland, where he was once again solid. The weird thing? He sagged against his own age group at the world juniors.
Scott Harrington, D, Toronto (from Pittsburgh in the Phil Kessel trade) – A defense-first defenseman who can kill penalties and put up a good battle around the puck, Harrington has 10 games of NHL experience already.
Tyler Biggs, RW, Pittsburgh (from Toronto in the Phil Kessel trade) – A power forward who hasn’t developed as expected, Biggs definitely needed a change of scenery after a demotion to the ECHL this season. He can fight, but the offense he had in junior (he also played NCAA for Miami) hasn’t emerged yet as a pro.
Michael Paliotta, D, Columbus (from Chicago in the Brandon Saad trade) – Quite the surprise this season, Paliotta was captain at the University of Vermont and had an offensive outburst, leading the Catamounts in scoring while also maintaining his usual post of shutting down the other team’s top lines. He was named Hockey East’s top defensive defenseman for his troubles.
Marko Dano, C, Chicago (from Columbus in the Brandon Saad trade) – He actually used up his Calder eligibility this season with the Jackets, getting into 35 games, but as the key return for Saad, I thought Hawks fans would want a review. Dano is a gritty, tough-minded forward who can play center or wing and put up points. Could he eventually replace Saad? The talent is there.
Sean Kuraly, C, Boston (from San Jose in the Martin Jones trade) – A big two-way center who plays an aggressive forechecking game, Kuraly will return to NCAA Miami next season, where he will captain the RedHawks after serving as an alternate this year. Numbers weren’t huge this year, but expect more.
Ryan Haggerty, RW, Chicago (from NY Rangers in the Antti Raanta trade) – Undrafted free agent had great career at R.P.I. thanks to a sizzling release on his shot. Not the fastest player, he nonetheless had a decent rookie pro campaign with AHL Hartford.
Travis Ewanyk, LW, Ottawa (from Edmonton in the Eric Gryba trade) – Memorial Cup winner with WHL Edmonton is a nasty customer who drops the gloves frequently and doesn’t mind fighting bigger opponents.
Brad Ross, LW, Edmonton (from Toronto in the Martin Marincin trade) – Third member of the Ryan Johansen-Nino Niederreiter line when he played junior for WHL Portland, Ross never panned out as the future Darcy Tucker he was billed as. A fresh start is good.
Patrick McNally, D, San Jose (from Vancouver for a seventh-rounder in 2015) – To oversimplify things, Harvard was great when McNally played and struggled when he was injured. An offensive defenseman with great hockey sense who can run a power play. Canucks preferred Jordan Subban and Ben Hutton, however.
Griffin Reinhart, D, Edmonton (from NY Islanders for first and second-round picks in 2015) – A two-way defenseman who leans a little more to the defensive side, Reinhart has great size and vision, though the quickness of the NHL game was a challenge during an eight-game spell in the bigs.
J.T. Compher, LW, Colorado (from Buffalo in the Ryan O’Reilly trade) – The University of Michigan standout is insanely competitive and tough to play against. Great leadership and decent offensive upside.
Colin Miller, D, Boston (from Los Angeles in the Milan Lucic trade) – A very smart blueliner who impressed in his rookie pro campaign with AHL Manchester, Miller helped the Monarchs win a Calder Cup title and led the team in scoring amongst D-men.